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Thursday, January 19, 2012
WND's Unruh Ignores Facts, Fairness In Anti-Gay Attack on SPLC
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've documented how Bob Unruh gave up a 30-year career in real journalism to peddle bias, stenography and unfairness -- the kinds of things no real news organization would publish -- at WorldNetDaily. Unruh serves up another textbook example of how far his journalistic standards have fallen in a Jan. 17 WND article.

Unruh uses this article to uncritically repeat the agenda of groups such as Americans For Truth About Homosexuality, in this case highlighting a protest by said groups against the Southern Poverty Law Center for daring to criticize their anti-gay agenda. Of the article's 28 paragraph, Unruh devotes 23 of them to bashing the SPLC. Here are the only three paragraphs in which Unruh allows the SPLC to respond to the criticism:

The SPLC declined to respond to a WND request for comment about the news conference. But the organization did post online a statement slamming those who participated.

The SPLC said, “Claiming that the SPLC is engaged in a ‘campaign to demonize adherents of traditional Judeo-Christian morality,’ the white organizers of the press conference are brining along a set of black pastors is a presumed bid to embarrass the SPLC.”

The statement attacked LaBarbera and said his description of homosexuality as “lethal” is wrong.

That's all Unruh will allow the SPLC say in his article, despite linking to a much longer statement on the SPLC website, which further details the criticism the SPLC has made against AFTAH and other anti-gay groups. Thus, Unruh failed to mention the SPLC's most direct response to the protesters:

The irony is that SPLC has named five of the participating organizations as hate groups precisely because they demonize LGBT people, using a series of well-worn lies to paint gays and lesbians as perverts, pedophiles and worse. Despite the claims of the groups, the SPLC is not attacking anyone’s morality. Instead, our hate group listings reflect the fact that they regularly propagate known falsehoods.

Take the press conference’s chief organizer, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH), and its leader, Peter LaBarbera. In 2007, LaBarbera claimed that there was “a disproportionate incidence of pedophilia” among gay men — a devastating accusation, but one that is entirely false, according to all the relevant scientific organizations. LaBarbera has compared the alleged dangers of homosexuality to those of “smoking, alcohol and drug abuse” and the AFTAH website describes it as a “lethal behavior addiction.” AFTAH has also claimed that an anti-bullying bill in California promoted cross-dressing and sex-change operations, among other things, to kindergartners and other children.

Why did Unruh edit the SPLC's response so severely? Is it because of petulance at the group for refusing to give a special response to WND? Or is it because a fuller response would have interfered with the slant of his article? Probably both. After all, if Unruh had noted that the SPLC had caught LaBarbera andAFTAH in numerous falsehoods, Unruh would have had to spend precious time explaining that way that he apparently decided could be better spent uncriticially pushing his employer's anti-gay agenda.

Clearly, WND is not paying Unruh to deviate from that agenda -- it's paying him to promote it, no matter how many inconvenent truths he has to ignore in the process.

That could be called many things, but journalism isn't one of them.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:08 AM EST

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